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Are you effectively merchandising your cash desk?

The cash desk or pay point is not only the nerve center of your day-to-day convenience store operation, but it is the most important merchandising area with in your store.

It is the one area that every customer visits when they come into your store to purchase the products you are selling, and as a result this area plays an important role in communicating your image, setting the tone of your customer service and creating profitable impulse sales for your store. Not only must it be efficient and big enough to allow you to better serve your customers, but it needs to be clean, well organized and well merchandised.

I am constantly amazed as I visit convenience stores by how little attention many retailers devote to maintaining and merchandising this critically important space. Often the counters are in poor repair, there is so much merchandise jammed into this small space that there is almost no room for the customers to comfortably conduct their transaction, and there is no particular rationale for the merchandise that is found there.

There are several important “principles” that should be considered when assessing how effectively you are using this key area of your store:

  • Always leave at least 3’ of clear counter space for your customers to comfortably pay for their purchases. Anything less will be uncomfortable and inconvenient for them.
  • Always make sure that your pay point counter is clean and in good repair. These counters are heavily used and wear out more quickly than most areas in your store, but if they are in poor repair it reflects badly on your entire store.
  •  Keep the clutter to an absolute minimum and remove any displays, signs or merchandise that doesn’t need to be there. (The more displays and the more clutter the less there is for the customer to focus on and the less they actually see.)
  • To generate the maximum impulse sales the products on the counter should be of an impulse or seasonal nature, frequently purchased and priced below $10, and most often below $5.
  • Change or rotate displays frequently. Remember many of your regular customers visit your store several times a week and soon fail to “see” products that have been in one spot for a long time.
  • Measure the performance of every product or display on your cash desk in terms of the “dollar sales” and “penny profit” that they generate for you, and remove any products that don’t produce. This should be the most productive sales area in your store!

Merchandising your cash desk or pay point effectively is a task that requires daily attention but one that can pay off handsomely with incremental sales and a positive customer impression.

Hugh Large & Associates Inc.
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